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    Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods

    Food and water safety information for consumers during hurricanes, power outages, and flooding.

    Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods

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    Know the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage.

    Emergencies can happen, especially with extreme weather conditions. When they do, the best strategy is to already have a plan in place. This includes knowing the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage — and being prepared to safely handle food and water in the event that flooding occurs.

    Note: Your local officials will notify you of any evacuations or states of emergency.

    Prepare Yourself Before Power Emergencies

    Power Outages: During and After

    If Flooding Occurs

    How To Save Undamaged Food Packages Exposed to Flood Water

    About Foodborne Illness

    Take Action

    Return to the Protect Food and Water During Storms Main Page

    Prepare Yourself Before Power Emergencies

    Make sure you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.

    Check to ensure that the freezer temperature is at or below 0° F, and the refrigerator is at or below 40° F.

    In case of a power outage, the appliance thermometers will indicate the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer to help you determine if the food is safe.

    Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately. This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.Group food together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer.Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

    Purchase or make ice cubes in advance, and freeze gel packs ahead of time. Store all of these in the freezer for future use in the refrigerator or in coolers.

    Check out local sources to know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased, in case it should be needed.

    Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.

    Make sure to have a supply of bottled water stored where it will be as safe as possible from flooding. If your bottled water has an odor, do not drink or use it. Instead, dispose of it, or if applicable, call your bottled water provider to make arrangements to get a replacement.

    During an emergency, if you use food or beverage containers to hold non-food substances like gasoline, dispose of them after use and do not recycle them.

    Power Outages: During and After

    When the Power Goes Out . . .

    Here are basic tips for keeping food safe:

    Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

    The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.

    A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

    Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.

    If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish, or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it is important that each item is thoroughly cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to ensure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present are destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40º F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 º F) — discard it.

    Once Power is Restored . . .

    Determine the safety of your food:

    If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.

    If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

    If the power was out for no more than 4 hours, refrigerated food should be safe as long as the doors were kept closed. When the power comes back on, check the temperature in the refrigerator or of the food. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at refrigerator temperatures above 40°F for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods with temperatures that are 45°F or below (measured with a food thermometer) should be safe, but should be cooked and consumed as soon as possible.

    Source : www.fda.gov

    Food Safety During Power Outage

    Find out from FoodSafety.gov how to keep food safe before, during, and after emergencies, such as floods, fires, natural disasters, or the loss of power.

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    Food Safety During Power Outage

    Food Safety During Power Outage Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save It and When to Throw It Out

    As the USDA notes in Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency, your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours during a power outage. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers after 4 hours without power.

    After a power outage never taste food to determine its safety. You will have to evaluate each item separately—use this chart as a guide. When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

    Download Refrigerated Food During Power Outage Safety Chart

    Type of Food Held above 40 °F for more than 2 hours

    Meat, poultry, seafood

    Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood;

    soy meat substitutes Discard

    Thawing meat or poultry Discard

    Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad Discard

    Gravy, stuffing, broth Discard

    Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard

    Pizza with any topping Discard

    Canned hams labeled "Keep Refrigerated" Discard

    Canned meats and fish, opened Discard

    Casseroles, soups, stews Discard

    Cheese

    Soft cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco Discard

    Hard cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano Keep

    Processed cheeses Keep

    Shredded cheeses Discard

    Low-fat cheeses Discard

    Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar) Keep

    Dairy

    Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk Discard

    Butter, margarine Keep

    Baby formula, opened Discard

    Eggs

    Fresh shell eggs, eggs hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products Discard

    Custards and puddings, quiche Discard

    Fruits

    Fresh fruits, cut Discard

    Fresh fruits, uncut Keep

    Fruit juices, opened Keep

    Canned fruits, opened Keep

    Dried fruits, raisins, candied fruits, dates Keep

    Sliced or shredded coconut Discard

    Sauces, Spreads, Jams

    Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Discard

    (if above 50 °F for more than 8 hrs)

    Peanut butter Keep

    Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles Keep

    Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces Keep

    Fish sauces, oyster sauce Discard

    Opened vinegar-based dressings Keep

    Opened creamy-based dressings Discard

    Spaghetti sauce, opened Discard

    Bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, grains

    Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas Keep

    Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough Discard

    Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes Discard

    Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette Discard

    Fresh pasta Discard Cheesecake Discard

    Breakfast foods: waffles, pancakes, bagels Keep

    Pies and pastry

    Cream filled pastries Discard

    Pies: Any with filling containing eggs or milk, e.g., custard, cheese-filled, or chiffon; quiche. Discard

    Fruit pies Keep Vegetables

    Fresh vegetables, cut Discard

    Fresh vegetables, uncut Keep

    Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices Keep

    Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged Discard

    Vegetables, cooked Discard

    Tofu, cooked Discard

    Vegetable juice, opened Discard

    Baked potatoes Discard

    Commercial garlic in oil Discard

    Potato salad Discard

    Casseroles, soups, stews Discard

    Frozen Food and Power Outages: When to Save It and When to Throw It Out

    A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed). Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below, however, its quality may suffer. Never taste food to determine its safety. Use this chart as a general guide.

    Download Frozen Food During Power Outage Safety Chart

    Type of food Contains ice crystals and feels cold as if refrigerated     Thawed and held above 40°F for more than 2 hours

    Meat, poultry, seafood

    Meat, poultry, seafood – all types of cuts Refreeze

    Discard

    stews, soups Refreeze

    Discard Dairy Milk Refreeze

    (some loss of texture) Discard

    Eggs (out of shell) and egg products Refreeze Discard

    Ice cream, frozen yogurt Discard Discard

    Cheese (soft and semi-soft) Refreeze (some loss of texture) Discard

    Hard cheeses Refreeze Refreeze

    Shredded cheeses Refreeze Discard

    Cheesecake Refreeze Discard

    Fruits

    Juices Refreeze Refreeze. (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)

    Home or commercially packaged Refreeze

    (will change texture and flavor) Refreeze (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)

    Vegetables

    Juices Refreeze Discard after held above 40°F for 6 hours

    Home or commercially packaged or blanched Refreeze (may suffer texture and flavor loss) Discard after held above 40°F for 6 hours

    Breads and pastries

    Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings) Refreeze Refreeze

    Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling Refreeze Discard

    Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough Refreeze (some quality loss may occur) Refreeze (quality loss is considerable)

    Source : www.foodsafety.gov

    Food Safety for Power Outages

    Food Safety During a Power Outage. Refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat after the loss of power. Find out what you can do to keep food safe during a power outage, and when you need to throw away food that could make you sick.

    Food Safety for Power Outages

    Refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat after the loss of power. Find out what you can do to keep food safe during a power outage, and when you need to throw away food that could make you sick.

    BEFORE:

    Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator should be at 40°F or below. The freezer should be at 0°F or below.

    Prepare for emergencies or natural disasters:

    Freeze containers of water and gel packs to help keep your food at 40°F or below.

    Have a cooler and frozen gel packs handy in case you have to remove your food from the refrigerator to keep it cold.

    Buy dry ice or block ice to keep your food cold in the refrigerator, if you think the power will be out for a long time.

    DURING:

    Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

    If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to:

    4 hours in a refrigerator.

    48 hours in a full freezer; 24 hours in a half-full freezer.

    If the power has been out for 4 hours, and a cooler and ice are available, put refrigerated perishable foods in the cooler. To keep them at 40°F or below, add ice or a cold source like frozen gel packs.

    AFTER:

    Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out.Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture.Check temperatures of food kept in coolers or your refrigerator with an added cold source. Throw out food above 40°

    If you have an appliance thermometer in your freezer, check to see if it is still at 40 °F or below.

    You can safely refreeze or cook thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.

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    Keep Food Safe After a Disaster or Emergency

    Source : www.cdc.gov

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